Cop Reports Detail Blockade Emergencies

EINO SIERPE PHOTO State police claim in newly released reports that an ambulance crew did indeed save the life of a patient while stuck in traffic at a New Haven protest and that the driver of another vehicle had to be helped through the crowd to ferry a “panicked” and “hysterically crying” pregnant woman to the hospital in time to deliver her baby.

Those allegations are detailed in three police police reports released to the Independent Tuesday in response to a state Freedom of Information Act request.

The reports were written by state Troopers Shawn Mansfield and Michael R. Beauton, a state police dog handler who patrols with a canine named Nero.

Mansfield and Beauton were among the state cops who arrived on the Route 34 Connector mini-highway shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 after 150-200 demonstrators marched there and formed a human chain to block traffic in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The police handling of the protest has engendered passionate debate on both sides, from people who blame protesters for blocking a mini-highway that leads to a hospital to others who blame state cops for later using pepper spray and a police dog (which ended up attacking three officers) while arresting one of the protest leaders on a crowded Chapel Street sidewalk. The state police said they’re “reviewing” “multiple” aspects of how they handled the event.

In his report, Mansfield describes arriving to find protesters “armed with wooden sticks” and a “large figure ... which appeared to resemble the President of the United States (POTUS). Multiple protesters were wearing masks over their faces and winter type hats making only their eyes visible to TFC [Trooper First Class] Beauton and I. Through training and experience, these type of individuals are usually the agitators and can be hostile towards law enforcement personnel.” They radioed for “additional units,” more cops who arrived “with riot gear and cap stun (pepper spray).”

The report describes “the lead protester” as 66-year-old veteran New Haven activist Norman Clement and states he urged people to “keep the roadway blocked.”

Medical Reports

EINO SIERPE PHOTO “While waiting for further law enforcement presence on scene, an unknown individual came up to me and stated there was a pregnant female stuck in traffic about to give birth. I immediately responded, and found a pregnant female crying hysterically, appearing panicked. She stated she needed to go to the hospital. The male who was driving her to Yale-New Haven Hospital stated her contractions were approximately 2 minutes apart. I then directed all traffic towards the right side of the roadway in an attempt to get the vehicle through the roadway. I was able to move the vehicle off of the Air Rights Garage Exit of Route 34 Westbound and get the pregnant female and the male on their way to the hospital,” Mansfield writes.

The report proceeds to state that a Yale-New Haven charge nurse named Thomas Zalbumbide informed police dispatchers that “due to the delay on Route 34,” an American Medical Response (AMR) crew couldn’t “wait further to arrive” at the hospital so it performed “an emergency Needle [de]Compression” needed “to save the patient’s life. Had Emergency Medical Personnel not performed this medical procedure, due to the do not resuscitate (DNR) status of the patient, there would have been no further lifesaving procedures that could have been done to save his life.” The report added that the patient consented to allow the charge nurse to tell this to the state cops.

A woman answering the phone at the hospital’s general information number confirmed that Zalbumbide works in the emergency department. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

AMR issued a statement last week denying that the protest had prevented any of its ambulances from transporting a “critically ill” patient to the hospital. Clement’s attorney, Patricia Kane, said she told state police at the scene three times that protesters were ready to move out of the way of any ambulances. Clement is shown at the 58:20 mark of a video of the protest  telling fellow demonstrators, “No one — no one! — gets by, unless it’s an ambulance.”

Back On City Turf

Paul Bass File Photo After a while demonstrators left the highway. Protest organizer John Lugo said they left without being told to; Mansfield’s report claims state police engaged in “getting all protesters off of Route 34.” He writes that police then “walked toward the protesters” as they now blocked Church Street and chanted “fuck pigs” and “cops are the KKK.”

At Chapel and Church streets, the two officers spotted Clement, who allegedly told them over a microphone, “If you think this is bad, just wait, this is just the beginning!” The report claims Beauton “pointed at Clement and advised him verbally that he was under arrest,” at which point Clement “immediately dropped his microphone and ran eastbound on Chapel Street in an attempt to escape arrest, ... knocking[ing] over multiple protesters.” The report states that two New Haven cops tackled Clement to the ground as he “continued to struggle.” Beauton was"unable to deploy” his police dog, the report states, so Beauton “deployed his O.C. pepper spray to Clement’s face.”

A video of the incident shows the trooper calling out: “See him right there! He’s the 37! He’s got the microphone! You’re under arrest!” And then the police charge toward him. (Clement is not visible in that portion of the video.)

Clement was charged with reckless use of the highway by a pedestrian, interfering with an officer, inciting to riot, breach of peace, and disorderly conduct.

Clement’s attorney, Kane, and fellow protest organizer Lugo, both of whom were present at the scene, stated the Clement ran to avoid not arrest, but the dog and the pepper spray, and that police were responsible for knocking over civilians.

After he was later released on a $5,000 bond from the state police Troop G Barracks, Clement told Mansfield “that if we ... did not want to be referred to as ‘Skin Heads and members of the KKK, we should do more to not look that part,’ assuming Clement was making reference to my shaved head.”

Reached on Tuesday, Clement said for now he is referring questions to Kane, who called the scene on Chapel Street a “police riot.”

Cop, Canine Accused Of Brutality

EINO SIERPE PHOTO Meanwhile, Officer Beauton is the subject of a currently pending federal civil lawsuit filed by a Stratford man named Edgar Crespo.

In the suit, Crespo alleges that Beauton attacked him with his dog while stopping him while he was driving in Milford on Jan. 18, 2014, and arresting him on motor vehicle charges.

The complaint charges that Beauton:

” (a) approached the plaintiff’s parked vehicle, (b) shattered the entire glass window on the front driver-side door of said vehicle with a night stick, (c) ordered the plaintiff to show his hands, (d) violently and forcefully removed the plaintiff from plaintiff’s vehicle using a police dog to maul plaintiff’s limbs in the complete absence of any prior resistance whatsoever from the plaintiff, and, while plaintiff exited his vehicle with his arms and hands raised above his head, and without resistance, defendant Beauton, with the further aid and assistance of his police dog, and four other defendant officers, (e) violently forced the plaintiff, onto the pavement, turned him on his stomach, and (f) handcuffed the plaintiff from behind, again with no resistance whatsoever from plaintiff.

“All during this time, as plaintiff lay helpless on the ground being handcuffed, and surrounded by five police officers, Beauton, for absolutely no reason except to viciously punish the plaintiff, out of anger, for having caused the police to engage in a pursuit of plaintiff’s vehicle, continued to deliberately allow his police-trained canine to attack plaintiff, and to maul and tear the plaintiff’s left arm. At the same time, Beauton and four of the other police defendants who had surrounded plaintiff repeatedly struck the plaintiff with punches, kicks and police night-sticks, all of which caused the plaintiff to suffer serious, physical bodily injuries as well as extreme fear, anguish, distress, degradation and other psychic injuries as more fully described below.  head, facial, chest and soft tissue trauma; multiple abrasions and contusions around the face, neck, chest, back and 
facial swelling in the area over the zygomatic arches; 
bleeding; 
massive left arm trauma with large puncture and large laceration 
hip, extending to the muscle of the arm, with exposed neurovascular structures, skin, soft tissue muscle and/or subcutaneous tissue missing from the upper arm; compression of the ulnar nerve; 
numbness and bleeding; and 
unsightly scarring.”

The office of state Attorney General George Jepsen filed a response brief denying the allegations against Beauton. The response states that the trooper’s “conduct was within the scope of his duties, and was not wanton, reckless or malicious. 


Velleca: Lessons For Both Sides

Paul Bass Photo New Haven cops could have helped prevent the Feb. 4 protest from going awry sooner by taking control of the situation from state cops and, without using dogs, arresting demonstrators who were blocking a highway, in the view of one retired assistant chief.

That retired assistant New Haven police chief, John Velleca, offered his views on the handling of the protest during an appearance Tuesday on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

On “Dateline,” Velleca, who reviewed an hour-and-44-minute video of the event (above), took a different stand from that of the two opposing sides in the debate, critical of decisions by both the protesters and the police.

Velleca criticized protesters for marching onto the Route 34 Connector and blocking traffic without permission.

He also criticized New Haven police for failing to take control of the situation, ceding authority to the state police, who are trained differently — including in the use of police canines for crowd control. New Haven police general orders forbid that use, Velleca said, while state police rules allow it.

“I would have liked to have seen ... a command level [New Haven officer] speaking with the state police before we even get there saying, ‘The New Haven PD is going to handle this. … From my experience, I am quite sure they would have said, ‘Thank you very much. We’ll see you later.’”

Youtube Once on the scene on Route 34, Velleca said, the shift commander should have taken action at the point of the protest shown at around the one-minute mark in the video, when protesters continued blocking the road and started swearing at cops, comparing them to Klansmen, and attacking a huge papier-mache sculpture of Donald Trump. The cop in charge should have then ordered the protesters to leave the road and arrested them if they refused to obey, he argued.

“That’s it. That protest is done. As soon as the cops are ‘fucking liars,’ as soon as ‘The cops and the Klan go hand in hand,’ and as soon as they’re not moving out of the road, everybody would have gotten arrested.

“When it becomes slanderous, obscene, and when you have a papier maché piñata that’s being struck over and over with a stick, that’s an imminent hostile act. They’re blocking the road. All these things put together … I don’t know who’s going to get hit next with the stick. Maybe it will be the piñata. Maybe it’s not going to be the piñata. Maybe it’s going to be one of the police officers.”

“Everything that happens after that point … when this thing should have been put to bed, is unfortunate,” Velleca said. “Because I don’t think there’s any good way to come out of this.”

No good did come out of it. Protesters left Route 34 of their own violation. They marched up Church Street to Chapel Street, now on city property. New Haven cops and state cops were both on the scene in force. On a crowded sidewalk, a state canine cop yelled to go after protest organizer Clement for alleged incitement to riot. That when chaos broke out, with the use of pepper spray, people getting knocked over, and the state canine biting two police officers and tearing the clothing of a third.

Again, Velleca said, New Haven police should have “taken the lead” and “very respectfully” asked the state police to step back. And dogs should not have been used.

“I think the dogs incited a lot of the animosity. I think the poor dog in there was having a hard time himself. He seemed pretty stressed out. You put a dog in that situation, it’s no wonder people get bit by accident.”

Looking ahead, Velleca said New Haven police need to train for more such unplanned, surprise protests, including demonstrators taking over streets and engaging in civil disobedience. Current police officials said they are in fact doing that training.

Back in 2009, during the “Occupy New Haven” protest encampment on the Green, New Haven police underwent crowd-control training that helped them stay cool and de-escalate potentially dangerous situations, Velleca said. He expressed confidence that even in these newly challenging times, New Haven police will maintain their reputation for handling protests calmly and professionally.

“There will be people challenging police,” he noted. “The officers have to be bigger than that. The officers have to be smarter than that. And I think they are.” It’s up to department leadership to direct them in that spirit, he said, to “keep the protesters safe and keep the people in the community safe.”

 

Click on or download the above audio file to listen to the full interview with John Velleca on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven,” including discussion of why state and New Haven police policies differ on handling of corpses at homicide scenes; and of past protests in which police officers have illegally blocked traffic and disrupted government.

EINO SIERPE PHOTO

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posted by: Massimo on February 15, 2017  8:39am

“He also criticized New Haven police for failing to take control of the situation…”  And when the NH police takes control of situations, they are likewise criticized.

A New Haven resident, I support our police force 100%.  If that makes me “fascist,” so be it.  The term has lost its meaning anyhow, given the way it is thrown around these days.

posted by: LookOut on February 15, 2017  9:31am

What a shame that rather than paroling the neighborhoods, getting to know the community, investigating drug crime….etc our police effort (and expense) has to be used to deal with these knuckleheads.  Maybe is we fined the protesters to a level that would pay for the extra police coverage, these types of situations would become less frequent.

posted by: MrWin on February 15, 2017  10:19am

Did Mr. Velleca ever respond to the comment he left on an immigrant’s obituary?

Here it is:

“posted by: Sgt. John Velleca on October 27, 2006 2:39am

You put Officer Dan Picagli in the same article as an “undocumented worker?”  That is a slap in the face.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves.  You’re probably asking if I think Danny’s life was more important than the illegal alien you’ve coupled him with.  Here is my answer - Yes, I do.  I had the courage to sign this, now you have the courage to post it.”

Next time you have him on the radio can you please have him answer to this?

[Paul: He did at the time answer in depth, saying he shouldn’t have made that comment; that he was feeling emotional because of losing his friend.]

posted by: JohnDVelleca on February 15, 2017  12:15pm

@ Massimo

    Thank you for your support for the New Haven Police, they certainly deserve the confidence.  You’re correct, it’s a very difficult time to be a police officer because it seems that everything the police do is wrong or could have been done better.  But, part of the job as a police officer is the expectation of fastidious public critique; in fact it’s essential to a free society.  As officers, we need to accept the reality that we’re human and make mistakes, and the public needs to share that sentiment.  I can tell you frankly that as an officer I’ve made many, many mistakes at times (just scroll down two comments form yours and you’ll see one).  But those mistakes have resulted in progressive, positive development.  This is a good example of an incident that should be fastidiously critiqued for learning purposes; we call that “training.”  And, training is learning that leads to the education necessary to gain the type of knowledge that will inevitably result in success.  It’s important to redress our officers, it’s not an insult to them or an attempt to diminish their efforts.  Our officers realize and understand this concept because they truly want to be successful and respected.  When I believe they can do better, I’ll tell them.  And when I get it wrong you can tell me, that’s why I post under my name.  Communication is essential to establishing a positive relationship between a community and it’s police force.  In fact, if I recall my training, one of the principles of community policing is the ability of the police to recognize that their power to fulfill their duty is dependent on public approval of their actions and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.  Our officers are not afraid of critical evaluation, they’re not cry babies who will “take their ball and go home.”  They’ll listen, learn and get back to work.  It’s what they do…thanks again for being part of a supportive community.

posted by: breakingbad23 on February 15, 2017  12:37pm

Why is Velleca suddenly toe “go-to” policing expert for NHI? Isn’t this the same guy who left his last Police assignment in utter disgrace for being “ethically compromised”?

posted by: southwest on February 15, 2017  12:47pm

When is Law Enforcement going to learn that their negative posting on social media always come back to haunt them in the night and sometimes days…especially when thy are still on the job or even when they go to other departments to get hide..even when they have to go to court those posting can really blow up in their faces because it show who you really are and how you really feel about certain people and issues…also about how you really hoodwinked the clueless board of police commissioner to get the job pretending to be this nice compassion person until you got that gun and badge now you can harass and bully the taxpayers who pay your salary..because in essence it was all about getting trained and then move on to another department that don’t have to pay to train you..wake up the city of New Haven and NHPD ..get more committed cops you would have the problem you just had with the protesters…ok can’t forget the ones who get promoted to supervisors roles who think they no everything because they got high scores on and exam…just look at Trump White House staff all alledgly educate but clueless on humanistic issues and how to deal with basic common sense issues with people who don’t look like them,act,live or think like some of them…until you can master all of these major issues..you will allways have chaotic problems when it come to dealing with people..so simple and some people still don’t get it..

posted by: JohnDVelleca on February 15, 2017  12:52pm

@breakingbad23

    Well, primarily because I’m able to give an opinionated honest assessment regarding these incidents without repercussion.  In other words, I “have no dog in the fight” so I can speak freely.  As far as the expert title, you’ll have to ask Paul Bass about that, but I do have a couple accomplishments under my belt.  As far as my last policing assignment, “utter disgrace,” “ethically compromised,” well, yeah I guess you’re right on that one.  I usually just say a “mistake.” In my own defense though, it was a singular mistake in a long career of successful endeavors.  I’m not sure if this is the forum for this type of debate, but I’ll be glad to have it with you.  To be fair though, identify yourself so we can get a full look at your life.

posted by: NewHaven06512 on February 15, 2017  1:20pm

@breakingbad

Maybe some stories of how the “Tactical Narcotics Unit” and their escapades should be shared and the practices they utilized.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 15, 2017  3:38pm

The reports were written by state Troopers Shawn Mansfield and Michael R. Beauton, a state police dog handler who patrols with a canine named Nero.

It’s not uncommon for police to misrepresent aspects of an event based on misperception or innocent misrecollection. Police often write their reports hours or even days after witnessing or investigating a crime.So how do we know if there reports are true?

posted by: Adrian35 on February 15, 2017  4:30pm

Anybody ever tune in and listen to New Havens finest? It’s a perfect setting for a reality show. Listening over the years to the “stars,” it would be an instant classic. And I’m not kidding here. On any given day or shift, you shake your head in bewilderment as to what is being done and said. Listen in sometime. It has the potential of a 5 star rating. And you will get to know the babies on each and every shift. Scary.

posted by: Clovers on February 15, 2017  5:02pm

Unfortunately, the important facts seem to be getting lost with these personal attacks between commenters. 

These “protestors” behaved like hoodlums.  It’s now a documented fact an ambulance containing a critically ill patient was detained, in addition to a woman in labor who was hysterically crying in fear, were prevented from getting to the hospital in a timely manner due to the lawless actions of these “protestors”.

The slurs chanted at the police were disgraceful and the NHPD did not deserve to be subjected to such abusive and disrespectful treatment for doing their job.

In my opinion, Patricia Kane should be charged with perjury for the false statement she submitted in defense of Clement & Blair.

This was not a peaceful protest.  This was unacceptable behavior that should not be tolerated. 

The victims are not the protestors ... the real victims are the individuals put in actual danger, along with the many other motorists prevented from getting to where they needed to go due to the lawless actions of these hoodlums.

posted by: wendy1 on February 15, 2017  9:48pm

The troopers are lying to cover themselves and the local cops overreacted.  I watched the whole film.

Why waste police manpower on nonviolent demos held by mostly elderly and young people, half of them female???  During many of the demos there are 2 dozen cops standing around in the cold, bored and disgusted no doubt with their bosses.

posted by: narcan on February 16, 2017  4:06am

@wendy1:

“The troopers are lying to cover themselves and the local cops overreacted.  I watched the whole film.”

I am not sure what you suggest they are lying about…the ambulances? There were multiple ambulances that were delayed until the crowd was cleared from the highway and at least one of them had their lights and siren on. But I am sure further reports can determine that, so let’s move on…local cops overreacted to what? You really don’t see much of it happening in the video but the only arrest the locals made was the one individual from the Koffee shop. I am surprised to learn he only got charged with Disorderly Conduct. Seems to me if you touch a cop in an unkind fashion, you are fixin’ for a date with the judge. I watched the whole film too! What did we win?

“Why waste police manpower on nonviolent demos held by mostly elderly and young people, half of them female???”

Mostly elderly… and young people…and half female….so people? Demos held by people. Got it.

“During many of the demos there are 2 dozen cops standing around in the cold, bored and disgusted no doubt with their bosses.”

The cops are there to control traffic and ensure the protesters get to enjoy their First Amendment rights safely while minimizing the ever increasing infringements on the rest of the citizenries’ liberty by their heretofore ignored disorderly actions in blocking roads with human walls and impromptu parades.

posted by: jim1 on February 16, 2017  8:50am

Take a close look at the police dog..  No city license, no tag for rabies. Now if the dog did bite some one will the dog have to be in quarantine for 14 ??